Harrison commissioner: Garbage-bill scofflaws at root of illegal dumping problem | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

Harrison commissioner: Garbage-bill scofflaws at root of illegal dumping problem

Brian C. Rittmeyer
Garbage is dumped behind empty homes in an alley between Spruce and Walnut streets in Harrison’s Natrona neighborhood on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019.

A Harrison commissioner wants to publicize the names of residents who are behind on their garbage bills, hoping it spurs at least some of the residents to pay up and alleviates a problem with illegal dumping.

More than 500 residential garbage accounts are delinquent in Harrison, and Commissioner Charles Dizard says that’s “the root problem” behind illegal garbage dumping in the township’s Natrona neighborhood.

“Waste Management does not collect garbage on delinquent accounts,” Dizard said. “As a result, some households are choosing to toss their garbage in nearby vacant lots.”

Dizard said he’d like to see the names of those with delinquent accounts posted on the township’s website.

Dizard said he would first have the township send letters to the more than 500 households with delinquent accounts, informing them that a township ordinance requires residents to “arrange and contract with the collector designated by the township for the collection, removal and disposal of all solid waste and recyclables.”

Harrison started a three-year contract for garbage collection with Waste Management in January 2018. The quarterly cost jumped from $41.40 to $63 — a 52 percent increase.

“If (after receiving the letter, residents) do not reactivate their garbage service with Waste Management, they will be subject to legal citations and fines,” Dizard said. “In addition, the delinquent accounts will be posted on the township’s website.”

Dizard said he’ll make the proposal at the commissioners’ meeting on Feb. 25.

Public shaming isn’t a new tactic by government agencies trying to get people to pay up.

Tarentum plans to publish the names of people who remain delinquent on their property taxes as of May 1, and Highlands School District is considering a similar measure.

Natrona resident Conrad Zylinski recently said garbage piling up behind vacant homes in his neighborhood is “a cancer.”

For the garbage already dumped, such as near Zylinski’s home, Dizard said the township will send letters to the individual property owners citing them for ordinance violations and will post the properties.

“After a legal waiting period, township public works will enter the property and clean it up, using township equipment and a Waste Management Dumpster,” he said.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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